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The noblest subject swells my lofty lay

The noblest subject swells my lofty lay

Author: Thomas Cradock
Published in 1 hymnal

Full Text

1 The noblest subject swells my lofty lay,
The Lord Jehovah--I his pow'r display;
The Lord Jehovah, great creator--God,
Who darts his dazzling glories all abroad;
2 Who's in tremendous majesty array'd,
With beamy light, as with a garment, clad:
3 Who, like a curtain, spreads th' etherial plains
In yon wide arch suspends his fleecy rains,
By winds supported, makes the clouds his car,
And rides triumphant in the ambient air.
4 Around him wait his bright angelic train,
Ready to bear his dread behests to man;
Unbodied forms and essences divine
That fleet like aether, and like fire that shine.
5 Firm on her base the solid earth he plac'd,
And 'gainst th' asaults of time secur'd her fast;
6 The earth he cover'd with a watery flood;
High 'bove the loftiest hills the surges stood;
7 But in tremendous thunder when he spoke,
Soon they subsided at his stern rebuke;
8 The hills they leave, and seek the level plain,
And to their wonted depths return amain.
9 The bounds permitted them to pass no more;
No more they on the delug'd mountains roar.
10 A long the vales, amid the tow'ring hills,
In sweet meanders flow the bubling rills;
11 Whence the wild bestials of the wilderness,
And the rejoicing flocks, their thirst appease.
12 All on their margin, the aerial choir,
Whose guileless loves their slender throats inspire,
Perch on the trees, and with their tuneful lay
Ravish the plains, and cheat the ling'ring day.
13 Down from his stores he sends his fruitful rains;
Feel their glad influence strait the meads, the plains;
All earth is strait with flow'rs, with herbage gay;
14 Rejoices man; the herds in rapture play;
The lovely prospect fills the heart with joy;
15 But what transporting strains our tongues employ,
When the smooth oils around our temples shine,
When high-enraptur'd with the racy wine;
When, by the bounty of our maker, fed,
New strength, new vigour, is supplied by bread?
16 Nor less from him each vegetable tribe
Their sap receive--th' enliv'ning juice imbibe
17 The tow'ring cedars where the eagles build,
The firs that to the storks fit refuge yield!
18 The wanton goats along the mountains rove;
While the rough craggy cliff the coneys love.
19 He gives her stated seasons to the moon;
He guides in his appointed course the sun;
20 His is the night; he bids the darkness reign;
'Tis then the howling bestials range the plain;
Their haunts they leave, and by fell hunger led,
Fall on the flocks, and fill the swains with dread,
21 Then the young lion with his hideous roar
Roams all abroad, the fatlings to devour;
To heav'n he roars, and while he prowls for food,
Owns, that his sole dependence is on God.
22 But soon as e'er, with his reviving ray,
Comes forth the joyous sun, to gild the day,
The bestial-tribes all to their dens retreat,
33 And his alternate labours man await;
The live-long day in constant toil he spends,
Till kind indulgent night his travail ends.
24 Thy works, O God, display thy pow'r divine;
Thy glorious works proclaim, that wisdom's thine;
Nor earth alone thy mighty gifts can boast;
25 The sea survey'd, in wonder we are lost.
Such countless millions of the finny train,
That roam exulting o'er her glassy plain;
Their different dimensions who can trace?
The varied beauties of the smaller race;
26 Th' enormous monsters, that with dreadful pride
Sport in the waves along the vessel's side;
But most, that dread, that huge leviathan,
The proud imperious tyrant of the main,
Who on her surface insolently plays,
And fills th' admiring eye with wild amaze.
27 O gracious God, all, all in sea, on land,
Receive their portion from thy mighty hand;
All, all the blessings of thy bounty share,
And all employ thy providential care.
28 Thou giv'st, they gather, their respective food;
Thine hand thou open'st, and they're fill'd with good.
29 And, when thy glad'ning presence is withdrawn,
The loss of thy beneficence they mourn;
Thou at thy pleasure tak'st their breath away;
They die, and strait return to native clay.
30 Yet not without inhabitants the earth;
Thy quick'ning spirit gives new forms a birth;
A new creation springs; their stated place
They hold, and run successively their race.
31 Our God with glory shall for ever reign,
And will with joy his wond'rous works sustain;
32 Struck with his presence, quakes the earth with fear;
Mov'd at his dread rebuke the hills appear;
See, from the hills in curling streams arise
The circling smoak, and darken all the skies.
33 For me, while breath inspires this vital frame,
The glories of my God shall be my theme;
34 With joy sincere his praises I will sing,
And to his honour'd name attune the string,
35 While impious men by his resentment fall,
And direful woes their guilty hearts appall,
The great creator shall my soul inspire,
Shall fill my tongue, and animate my lyre.


Source: New Version of the Psalms of David #CIV

Author: Thomas Cradock

Rector of St. Thomas's, Baltimore County, Maryland Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: The noblest subject swells my lofty lay
Author: Thomas Cradock
Language: English
Publication Date: 1756
Copyright: This text in in the public domain in the United States because it was published before 1923.



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